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Normandie Heights Harvard-Yale: Historic Homes Tour 2000

Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:35

Utah Heritage Foundation held its annual Historic Homes Tour in the Normandie Heights area of the Yalecrest neighborhood in Salt Lake City, on May 20, 2000. This beautiful area is considered one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods because of its exceptional architecture. Consistently large and beautifully landscaped lots characterize the area. The homes all reflect outstanding quality and craftsmanship. Guests enjoyed the eight homes and the Yale LDS Chapel on the tour and the opportunity to walk the wonderful tree lined, winding streets of this park-like neighborhood.

The tour encompassed two districts, Normandie Heights and Yale Avenue. The following is a brief history of those districts.

Normandie Heights is bordered by 1300 East on the west, 1500 East on the east and includes Harvard, Princeton, and Laird, as well as, Normandie Circle, Laird Circle and Uintah Circle. The homes in this area were built between 1926 and 1935 and include, Period Revival Cottages, English Tudor and French Norman style homes.

Period Revival styles became popular during this period because of a renewed interest in a picturesque form of building that was likely due to American exposure to European architecture during World War I and increased awareness and pride in our European and Colonial roots following the war. Owners wanted the lure of Old World charm and the luxury of New World comfort. Developers touted this stately area as one of distinction, "above the din of traffic and surroundings of permanent, protected attractiveness," according to advertisements in The Salt Lake Tribune and brochures distributed by the developers.

Increased postwar prosperity allowed for the expensive treatments of exterior facades and the costly materials of the interiors that were called for in Period Revival architecture. Massive stone chimneys, decorative brick and stucco walls, half-timbering, leaded-glass and multi-pane windows increased both the picturesque nature and cost of these homes compared with those built in previously popular styles.

Normandie Heights has been home to many of Salt Lake City's elite, including Ezra Taft Benson, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and LDS Church president, A. Eugene Christensen, partner in Ryberg Construction Company, and other residents of stature including physicians, dentists, and educators.

The Yale Avenue District between 1300 East and 1500 East was developed between 1913 and approximately 1925. The area has many Prairie and Prairie Bungalow style houses. The Prairie style commonly includes features such as a broad, flat roof, horizontal rows of windows, contrasting wood trim, casement windows and geometric-shaped ornamentation. Edward M. Ashton and Edward M. Jenkins, two developers who played an important role in the growth of Salt Lake City's east side primarily developed this area.

The Yale area follows the ravine that contains Red Butte Creek which provides a naturally wooded area and isolation for its residents. The first homes built in the area can generally be categorized as the two-story Prairie style houses and bungalows. Later homes are generally Period Revival design. This area was marketed by developers as "offering canyon life in the city. "

As with Normandie Heights, Yale Avenue also attracted Salt Lake City's elite. An early resident of Yale Avenue was Utah Governor Charles R. Mabey. It is said his hobby of rock collecting surfaced in his garden and courtyard walls (1390 Yale Avenue).